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Dec 04, 2007


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Mike H

It seems to me that the "Emerging Church" can be associated with just about everything that has anything to do with being the Church in our current culture. Is there a clearer definition somewhere? "Emerging" seems to be thrown around a lot from various groups of differing visions and theologies.

"Emergent" is more clearly defined, but at the same time it is part of Emergent philosophy to not define their theology/philosophy in a mission statement. It seems like the very nature of the group should make it harder to classify and put in boxes/stereotypes (although that is exactly what happens).

"Missional" can also mean many things. Some churches seem to think that is fashionable or they like the connotation so they define the outreach they already do as "Missional."

I personally do not use these words for two reasons:
1. The majority of the people I am talking to would have no idea what I am talking about (not to mention the fact that explaining ambiguous organizations is difficult).
2. The people who do know what I am talking about would more than likely have the opposite impression of it than what it actually is.

Michael W. Kruse

I took the Emergent symbol of my blog last summer but left "Missional" up. The emerging phrase does not describe much. Furthermore, I have deep suspicions that McLaren and others are trying to leverage Emergent into a new version of the Christian political Left to counter the Christian political Right. I've got better things to do.

Mike H

It may be worth noting Tony Jones blog entry "I am no lefty" here: (scroll all the way down).


I don't know about McLaren, I have not read his recent work. It seems to me the 'left to counter right' statement would apply to a group like Sojourners, but I have generally thought of Emergent as a network of churches and Christians and not a political organization looking for voters.

Michael W. Kruse

Mike I don't mean to imply that the organization will offically become a political organization. If I'm to take the leadership at their word there are a variety of perspectives represented. Rather I'm talking about McLaren and other individuals with influence in Emergent attempting to use Emergent connections to form a left leaning political movement. For starters, here is McLaren in June at news conference by Media Matters (funded by Moveon.org:

Religious Progressives Left Behind

Then there was this post I did in Oct. about the Evangelical Left and the secular progressives trying to form a coalition. McLaren was in the middle of that.

Evangelicals, Progressives Seek to End Culture Wars

His "Everything Must Change" book does not champion many specific political actions but his slant on the issues is almost universally a progressive take leading you right up to the edge but letting you connect the final dots.

I've been to Emergent events but stopped going. They claim to be broadly representative but I've yet to see anyone at their events or authors from their network that takes a more conservative view of say economics or politics. There is a strong anti-conservative ethos. They seem incapable of distinguishing fundamentalist Evangelicalism from the long tradition of the conservative political and economic philosophy. I'm not saying they should all be come conservatives but the absence of this view from the dialog suggests to me that this just one more pendulum swing. I'm not interested.

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